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Men, abuse and power: How money helps to hide a multitude of sins

Written by Hannah-Clare Vann

Sat across from her interviewee inside Buckingham Palace, Emily Maitlis knew that the man

she was interviewing would never be seen the same way again. This crucial interview was aired on the BBC way back in November 2019. Emily’s questioning was like watching a vulture circling its prey, meanwhile her subject, none other than Prince Andrew, was failing miserably in navigating his way successfully through her interrogation. His wooden, defensive and hunched body language spoke for him during the times he couldn’t provide a coherent answer... which was every painful second of the interview. Then it all fell further from Andrew's grasp and his attempt to regain any credibility would be tarnished.

“But you stayed in the house of a convicted sex offender?", she said.

She wasn't asking the question, she was stating a vital fact, to which Andrew sighed and said:

“It was a convenient place to stay...”

The man in question is of course millionaire hedge fund manager and convicted paedophile- a man who

orchestrated a sex ring spanning years- Jeffrey Epstein.

Of all the powerful predators you’d probably heard of before 2019, the name Jeffrey Epstein had barely reached the headlines, and a google search would have revealed his connections to world leaders, billionaire businessmen and photographic evidence of him schmoozing with the stars and former US president Donald Trump.

Jeffrey Epstein's root to mingling with the élite is hazy and unclear in its trace and his background has always been a mysterious entity. Nevertheless, he soon progressed from being a name that only powerful men whispered at lavish parties to being the head of those same tables, smoking fat cigars and drinking champagne while the skeletons in his closet sank deeper underground.

The Jeffrey Epstein name hasn’t been the only one haunting the headlines, as the name Harvey

Weinstein, a business mogul for Miramax entertainment and the name A list celebs had at the

top of their “wish to work with list”, became the catalyst for the #metoo movement following

an astounding number of allegations coming out against him for assaulting and harassing young

women who worked with him.

From then on, a plethora of names came out within the Hollywood sphere for the same crimes,

making it harder to ignore. It seemed like a strange phenomenon that only took one downfall to

jerk a chain reaction.

Money and power pays for secrets

With so many more names released in the same realm of offences as Harvey Weinstein, Jeffry Epstein and Prince Andrew, it begs the question how these people in Hollywood swerve accountability for

so long?

Well, there are a few reasons, but one that was most influential was their connections. As I stated above, Jeffrey Epstein was known for his highly powerful friends from royalty to a future president, but his ties to Bill Gates and business mogul responsible for Victoria Secret, Lex Wexner ( even after his conviction as a pedophile and sex trafficking charges of minors) remained strong. It looked as though no matter what, Jeffrey would still win. Same goes for Weinstein, who could still get away with his horrific crimes while being fully embraced by Hollywood. If there’s someone exhibiting predatory behaviour or having committed assault, they would normally be reprimanded and some form of justice would be served, but sadly there is honour among thieves and the only currency accepted is power.

Influence used as a tool for manipulation

For those who knew and ran in the same circles as both Weinstein and Epstein it seemed that

silence was expected, but there were those who would throw bread crumbs for years to send a

discrete signal that only those paying attention would understand. In fact, some dared bravery

long before Ronan Farrow’s “Catch and Kill” even got a book deal and one who spoke out was

none other than grunge punk's mother, Courtney Love, in a viral video garnering 1.9 million views.

In this 2005 interview on the red carpet, the interviewer asked Courtney “do you have any advice for a

young girl moving to Hollywood?”

Courtney said “umm.. I’ll get libelled if I say it...if Harvey Weinstein invites you to a private party in the four seasons, don’t go!”

Courtney then suffered the consequences and was blacklisted from a very prestigious talent agency, one that Weinstein had ties with after this aired.

As for Epstein, despite being a self -titled “man of mystery”, his ability to get whatever he

wanted was relentless. His tactics were riddled with manipulation, preying on young girls (his

youngest victim was 11 years old) and luring them into his world of sexual abuse.

He dressed his propositions in glitter and targeted girls looking for a new life, ‘innocently’

placing adverts for “massage therapists no experience needed as you will be trained”.

Harvey Weinstein's tactics didn’t exactly differ that much from Epstein’s, making promises to

hopeful upcoming actresses who would then put all their trust into him as a mentor

with all the connections they’d ever need. Then, when threatened, he'd provide hush money to victims, (reportedly up to half a million dollars). He would black ball the victims if they even tried to

speak out, making sure the women he tormented would never work in the industry again.

It’s the same tale but told differently.

It’s not only the ties to power which seem to keep these predators safe. It's also the unwavering

support from those they influence. The best example for this is the world's adoration for the Royal Family. As people have grown up with a notion of who the family are and what their status is, their connection to them resulted in their unwavering loyalty to a man they've never met, despite the allegations against him.

How must men hold those abusing their power accountable

There is a heavy importance on men holding other men accountable, whether it’s seeing someone being

continuously harassed in a bar to witnessing a movie producer groping a hopeful young actress. There is a barrier, however, and we would be stupid not to acknowledge it. It’s arguably easier to face someone in a bar who is harassing someone when you’re both somewhat seen as equals. However,

when it comes to a powerful boss who treats the world like his playground, someone who is in charge of your career, it’s a lot harder to face head on. We need to create a safer place for those who wish to speak up when they see something that’s not right. If it is in Hollywood or the day to day work place, there needs to be real change so that power can no longer suffocate the victims of abuse from prolific people “above” them.

The message these cases give out

These cases, as harrowing as they are to read and often heartbreaking, have seen a phenomenal outpour of support to those who want to see the same change as the victims. Justice has been served in some of these cases, but sadly not all.

The iron clad fist of a billionaire full of money should not hold as much power as it once did. No one should be able to use their influence and wealth to destroy and control a victims life. Things are changing, victims are speaking up, and their voices are stronger than ever before.

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